Introducing a community volunteer program to complement paramedic student ambulance placements

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Universities are exploring how workplace learning can serve to develop soft skills to better prepare graduates for contemporaryroles that focus on primary health and community care. The objective of this study was to explore paramedic student’s perceptionsof a community services placement introduced as a pilot project to supplement traditional ambulance placements and facilitate the development of non-technical skills such as communication and emotional intelligence.
Methods: A convenience sample of 191 first year Charles Sturt University paramedic students was used in this descriptive study to ascertainthe students’ attitudes and reflections upon completion of a community-based placement. The 17 question survey instrumentusing a likert scale was developed to determine demographic data and explore student reflections on the value of the placement,perceptions of volunteerism and the impact on soft skill development. The data were analysed using SPSS.
Results: There were 88 students from a possible 191 who participated in the survey (46%). 58% of respondents were male while 79.5%were 25 years old or younger. 81% of students reported improvement in their communication skills while 80% gained confidencetalking to people of different ages, cultures and socioeconomic status. There was a significant correlation between student age andperceived development of soft skills with students under 25 reporting the highest levels of improvement.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that non-ambulance placements can be used to supplement traditional workplace learning and improvestudents’ soft skills. Additionally, universities should consider inventorying student soft skills and tailor placement opportunities tobetter suit student needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-27
Number of pages1
JournalAustralasian Journal of Paramedicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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